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Moles happen because of the individual’s genetics or as a result of exposure to the sun. These pigmented skin spots, also known as melanocytes, may change in color, shape, ‘tender.’ It is important to consult a dermatologist as soon as possible in this instance! Sometimes these changes indicate cancer, so it is essential for the dermatologist to check the patient’s skin on a regular basis.

Some appear flesh-toned on individuals with fair skin. Others appear as brown, black, yellow, or blue-colored bumps, with or without the presence of hairs emanating from them.

Many dermatologists recommend automatic removal when a new raised and pigmented spot appears on the skin. Others prefer to watch and wait. Either way, a board-licensed dermatologist such as Dermatology Specialists of Atlanta can assist patients in evaluating, monitoring, removing, and biopsy (if required) of melanocytes.

Melanocyte Risk

The National Institutes of Health reports that genetic melanocytes pose a slightly higher serious cancer risk (melanoma) than sun-triggered types. Melanoma is the most lethal type of skin cancer. Although developing melanoma does not usually cause pain, any melanocyte changes in tenderness (with or without touch) should be shared with the dermatologist.

Melanoma cells “burrow” into skin and, without prompt treatment, may spread through the circulatory or lymphatic systems. Dermatologists report that women develop melanomas most often on the legs, but these skin cancers can develop anywhere on the body.

According to “From Melanocytes to Melanoma: The Progression to Malignancy,” melanocytes may progress to melanoma. Changes in cells may occur rapidly but regular melanocyte checks as recommended by Dermatology Specialists of Atlanta is one of the best ways to protect patients’ health.


Skin cancer checks should be part of the patient’s wellness routine. All melanocytes should be checked by a board-certified dermatologist. Dr. Kathleen J. Smith first evaluates melanocytes for cancer risk. If a particular growth appears suspect, she may recommend a painless biopsy test from it.

Treatment Options

Dr. Kathleen J. Smith may recommend removal of the melanocyte by excision. This procedure involves removal from the skin. Occasionally, several stitches may be required to help skin heal. Any resulting scar may be treated at a future time at the patient’s preference.

Alternatively, the melanocyte may be removed by cauterization. This procedure is performed with a razor-like instrument. The melanocyte is first shaved from the skin. then, the skin is cauterized to remove any melanocyte cells. No stitches are required in this type of removal. When the skin heals, the patient has a scar that is about the same size or shape of the removed melanocyte.

Advanced removal therapies, such as laser removal, may be recommended for other patients. The laser first targets the pigments in the melanocyte. Pigmentation is broken up and the body absorbs the destroyed pigmented cells. After laser treatment, the skin is red and may be irritated. Although scars may occur after laser therapy, they occur less frequently.


Dermatology Specialists of Atlanta advises patients about skin care after the removal of one or more moles. The treated area must be kept clean and protected in order to speed the healing process. Patients should rest after any melanocyte treatment. Scarring less likely if the patient avoids activity and movements that stretch treated skin.

Once the skin heals, Dr. Kathleen J. Smith will recommend high SPF sunscreen and skin regimen products for patient use.


Moles may be completely benign or cause for concern. Patients in greater Decatur with melanocytes should call Dermatology Specialists of Atlanta to arrange an appointment with Dr. Kathleen Smith today at 678-904-4932!

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